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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Searching for God: So easy, so hard

Each week the PSF reads along with the Ukirk lectionary. September 19 we read the beatitudes in Matthew 5.  The are beautiful in their simplicity of what is blessed.  We can read these words and agree -- yes, this is what God is about.  These are easy to understand.  Yet, as we easily skim through or social media feeds #blessed stands in stark contrast to Jesus' words.  It's also just that hard.

Here are Jesus' words in the NRSV Matthew 5
 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Here is how a brief search of social media sites defined blessed. 
A quick search of #blessed and this is how its defined.

Read again Matthew and contrast where happiness is found.  It is no wonder we are more anxious at times.  When we are faced with well put together pictures of happiness and #blessed, it is easy to assume that is what blessing looks like. We can feel apart from God and God's promises.  The promise and good news of Jesus' words in this passage is that blessedness is not based on exterior traits, stuff we have, being popular, keeping it together, or getting it right. 

Matthew 5 (Common English Bible)
5 1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to him. 2 He taught them, saying:
Happy people
3 “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
4 “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
5 “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
6 “Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
7 “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
8 “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.
9 “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.
10 “Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. 12 Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you.

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